By Kierra Johnson
It’s open season on trans folks, and everyone, regardless of their gender, should be worried. This past legislative session in Virginia was full of committee meetings staffed with cisgender politicians questioning the rights of transgender children. While those who are defending anti-trans bills do so under the guise of protecting children, the actual goal is the eventual eradication of trans people. The belief that queer and trans identities can be snuffed out by conversion or suppression is not new, and if these bills continue to circulate, cis people will be affected too.
Anti-trans activists want to do away with all types of gender-affirming care, which is ironic, because it was developed for cisgender children. Puberty blockers were created for children who suffered from onset early puberty, and the effects are 100% reversible, so that children can go on to have normal, healthy development in their teenage years. This option would be lost not only to trans kids, but also cis kids in need of intervention for precocious puberty.
Another group who would be affected is cisgender women. Some women who experience abnormally high levels of testosterone need blockers and hormonal replacement therapy(HRT) to balance their hormones and suppress unwanted secondary sex traits such as facial hair. If the access to medical care for trans kids is seen as a threat, then the affirming care that cis people need will also go away. Because of this, everyone should be invested in the plight for children’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. Even if cis people wouldn’t be affected, there is still an entire class of people who would lose access to healthcare that has been proven to be safe since the 80’s.
No one can possibly know which kids will need gender-affirming care, or even which adults will need it in their lifetime. Under Governor Youngkin, Virginia is moving toward near-total suppression of trans identities, which has historically foreshadowed the mistreatment of many groups, including queer and trans people in pre-Nazi Germany. He is fueling an increasingly fascist government with his calls to further marginalize a minority group by forcing them into the shadows of society. He has publicly opposed trans youth in sports, marriage equality, and the safety and affirmation of trans children at home and in schools. Legislators who support legislation that supports trans exclusion have to be voted out next election cycle. In the meantime, the scientists and the doctors who work tirelessly to take care of their patients need to be believed and protected. Voters who support trans rights should also be aware of which representatives are voting against the best interest of trans people, in order to vote them out next election cycle. Gender-affirming care is in trans children’s hands along with their doctors and parents, and the goal is always to do what is best for the child. Removing that access is the true threat; not children who need healthcare.